Corduroy, the beloved D.C. restaurant, got a fabric-themed sibling yesterday, and it happened rather quietly.
Baby Wale, which opened last night, sits adjacent to chef/owner Tom Power’s original baby, and in case you’re not up on your sartorial lingo, “wale” identifies the number of ridges per inch in any given corduroy. Power wants his new restaurant to be a loosened-up neighborhood place, the relaxed jacket to the suit-and-tie feel of his fine-dining spot next door.
“I wanted to keep it kind of fun and playful,” he says. “Bar food with kind of an upscale twist to it—-pupusas, pizzas, and hot dogs. Not really so serious.”
To that end, the distressed walls at Baby Wale are lined with neon vintage posters from D.C. go-go acts like Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence. The dinner plates are enameled metal, and some tables sport colorful ceramic salt shakers shaped like old-timey villagers. And prices on the ever-changing menu will hover between $10 and $23, says Power.
He says he wants the restaurant to be wine-focused, and pulled together a list of 70 to 80 bottles himself, mostly European and many in the $40 to $50 range. “I think you get better values in European wines,” he says. The restaurant will offer a specialty cocktail list, however, and has six draft lines that will deliver Carlsberg, Narragansett, and Sixpoint Brewery beers, among others.
And while Power wants Baby Wale to be a lively, fun place, there are two things he’s pretty serious about: No, he won’t smile for that photo; and don’t ask the name of the New Jersey company where he sources his hot dogs. (It’s a secret.)
Baby Wale, 1124 9th St NW
Photos by Rina Rapuano